British Media Continue Misinformation Campaign on Evolution and Intelligent Design

Robert L. Crowther, II

It looks as if the reporting on evolution and intelligent design is even worse in the UK than it is here in the US. I was just forwarded this article from last week’s Independent titled “Does Creationism Have a Place in the Classroom.” Right off the bat the lead of the article makes unsupported assertions, editorializing in a manner that even some of the most agenda-driven reporting in the US has yet to do.

“A creationist group, Truth in Science, has targeted thousands of secondary schools in the UK with an information pack that is being used by believers and unwary teachers to bring religious dogma into science classrooms.”

In reality, Truth in Science is not a creationist group at all, and the information they have been distributing is either focused on criticisms of evolution or on advancing the positive case for intelligent design.
Throughout the story, the reporter’s choice of words is so loaded that it is hard to understand how any objective editor would have allowed it to run in this fashion. When covering controversial issues balance and objectivity is necessary for fair reporting. For instances, in political reporting –presumably in the UK as well as in the US– if one were reporting on Democrats and Republicans, they would both be considered political parties. You wouldn’t refer to one as a social club, and the other as a professional political organization. Yet, that is exactly the sort of imbalance that is taking place in this piece in regards to proponents of intelligent design.
Anyone who is even nominally critical of evolution is immediately classified as religious. They are painted as either ignorant or simply motivated by politics, whereas those who support evolution are referred to as scientists.
The Independent doesn’t simply rely on insinuating that intelligent design isn’t science and that its proponents are not scientists, it makes that assertion with nothing to back it up other than vacuous doctrinal statements from governing bodies that are not likely to have ever explored the theory beyond the pages of the Independent or the New York Times.
Even worse are the outright lies put forth about Dr. Michael Behe, who testified in the Dover vs. Kitzmiller ID trial last year.
“Last year Dr Behe had to admit in a US courtroom not only that such organisms could be the result of evolution, but that intelligent design had the same scientific legitimacy as astrology.”
This is simply false. It is based on faulty reporting from that bastion of journalistic integrity, the New Scientist, which falsely reported this last year during the trial. (see here for the straight scoop)
Another false assertion by the Independent is that irreducible complexity has been discredited. Far from it. Behe has written about the hand waving, speculations, and just so stories that greeted his argument for irreducible complexity in the new afterword to his groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box.

This is a surprisingly blatant attempt to misinform the public and manipulate the terms of the debate in order to denigrate the theory of intelligent design and prop up the ailing theory of Darwinian evolution.
What is it that the Independent, and Darwinian hardliners, are afraid of? A head of science interviewed for the story sums it up nicely. Concerning the distribution of “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” — a documentary presenting and explaining the positive evidence for intelligent design theory — it is clear that following the evidence where it leads is what Darwinists desperately want to keep students from doing.

Graham Wright, head of science at North Bridge House, an independent school in north London, says the pack sent to him went straight into the bin. But he is concerned that some well-meaning teachers, convinced by talk of changes in the national curriculum, will include the pack in lessons. “If I showed this to children, of course they would be convinced,” he says. “There’s no doubt about that at all.”

Between agenda-driven language which is clearly biased against the intelligent design position, and reality-challenged “facts,” the Independent is providing a poor service to readers in Great Britain and elsewhere. Let’s hope that the British public sees through the smoke and mirrors and weighs the evidence for themselves.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.